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Good grief! Dyslexia can never visit Turkmenistan - sob!

 
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 09:23 am
Impressive statue. If its solid gold...surprising some entrepeneur hasn't nicked it.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 09:39 am
Not if you realise that anyone even thinking about that would get arrested and sent to some prison camp for the rest of his life ... :winks:
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 01:48 pm
not NECESSARILY. I have a plan. Will send you pm.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 01:55 pm
LOL!
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 03:36 pm
Any truth to the rumor that the statue cost precisely US$ 4.7 million?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 03:46 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Any truth to the rumor that the statue cost precisely US$ 4.7 million?


Well, Chief Justice Roy Moore erected a smaller monument for less money and got more attraction :wink:
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 03:49 pm
Smile
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 03:49 pm
Smile
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 03:50 pm
Smile
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 8 Mar, 2004 04:01 pm
Merry Andrew wrote:
Any truth to the rumor that the statue cost precisely US$ 4.7 million?

hehhehheh...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 May, 2006 01:19 pm
An update... Things arent getting better.

Quote:
TURKMENISTAN FACES A CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP -- EXPERTS

Friday, May 26, 2006
EURASIA INSIGHT

In mid May, Turkmenistan's state television channel reported that the minister of textile production had been sacked for committing, in the words of the country's mercurial despot Saparmurat Niyazov, "many dirty acts." Such reports seem almost a weekly occurrence in Turkmenistan, a country seemingly stuck in a permanent purge cycle. The constant personnel turnover has some experts warning of potential instability in Turkmenistan.

[..] In firing the minister, Dortguly Aydogdiyev, Niyazov engaged in what has become a ritual of public humiliation. State television broadcast a cabinet session May 16 during which the Turkmen leader ridiculed Aydogdiyev for incompetence and corrupt practices. "I warned him more than once to stop wrongdoing and take the right path, learn the sector thoroughly," Niyazov said. "The bad thing is that he has no knowledge of the sector, nor does he know economics at all."

If Niyazov was truly disenchanted with the minister's professionalism, he has no one to blame but himself. A major element of the vast cult of personality built by Niyazov involves the constant rotation of government personnel. Indeed, just a few days before Aydogdiyev got the axe, Niyazov fired his fifth head of the country's Central Bank in almost as many years. The problem is, after almost 15 years of constant reshuffling, there are few qualified people left to run the country.

"The effects of Niyazov's destabilizing personnel policy [..] fuel an atmosphere of fear in government circles that impedes informed policy-making [..]" said Erika Dailey, director of the Turkmenistan Project at the Open Society Institute. [..]

"In a region where it is common for people to pay enormous bribes in order to buy their way into senior government jobs, in Turkmenistan most people go unwillingly because of the high likelihood that they will soon be fired, disgraced, stripped of their property, and imprisoned," Dailey added.

The situation only stands to get worse. Niyazov's totalitarian ways have decimated the country's education system and health-care sector. Compulsory education ends after only nine years, and the main textbook used in schools is the Ruhnama, a tome [..] supposedly penned by Niyazov. [..] The Turkmen leader has also scaled back Russian-language instruction, thus limiting higher educational opportunities for students wanting to study abroad, and restricting citizens' ability to communicate with the outside world. In the health sector, Niyazov, who also goes by the title Turkmenbashi, or leader of the Turkmen, ordered the closure of most hospitals and clinics outside of Ashgabat, and summarily dismissed thousands of nurses and doctors, replacing them with untrained military conscripts. [..]

Niyazov's personnel policy was examined during a May 22 Open Forum, sponsored by the Turkmenistan Project. [..] Turkmenistan may well muddle along as long as Niyazov is alive, his personality cult providing the country with a veneer of stability. But Turkmenistan could easily be plunged into chaos when Niyazov dies, or, for whatever reason, can no longer act as a strongman. His departure from the scene will reveal the country's leadership vacuum, in which any sense of political continuity has been lost, forum speakers asserted. Apart from the president, "there is not a single person in government today whose experience dates back to the 1990s," Ponomarev said. [..]

Underscoring the devastating nature of the personnel policy, Dailey pointed to the example of a May 17 United Nations human rights review that focused on Turkmenistan's treatment of women. Ashgabat declined to make any women's rights experts available to represent the Turkmen government during the session, fuelling speculation that none exist in government structures.

The state of Niyazov's health has been the subject of intense speculation in recent years. He has been rumored to suffer from heart disease, requiring treatment by a team of German doctors. But given the secretive nature of his regime, there is no way to independently verify his health status. On May 15, Turkmen state television reported that Niyazov had undergone his annual check-up by a joint team of Turkmen and German specialists. "Following the examination, the doctors said our esteemed leader's health is very good," the report said. [..]

Those seriously interested should read the whole thing, and browse on to other Turkmenistan pages on the Eurasianet website:

"The Central Eurasia Project aims, through its website, meetings, papers, and grants, to foster a more informed debate about the social, political and economic developments of the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is a program of the Open Society Institute-New York."

(That's George Soros, yes - always good to slip in a reminder to our American conservatives that, however much Soros is the man they love to hate for his support to liberal groups in the US, elsewhere in the world he supports pro-democracy initiatives against brutal dictatorships that they will surely applaud.)
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Lash
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 May, 2006 01:21 pm
Oh, the beard. I thought it was because he's gay.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 May, 2006 01:26 pm
<looks up>

Ayy.. too much bold fonts make for unhappy reading. Overdid it.

Ah well, y'all can simply click the headline and see the full article in the original.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 06:34 pm
Quote:
Political Prisoners Next Test For Turkmen President

November 27, 2007
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Under former President Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan was one of the world's most repressive societies. But for many, the nadir for human rights came five years ago this week, when hundreds of people were arrested and imprisoned after an alleged assassination attempt on the dictator known as Turkmenbashi.

Since taking over in December following Niyazov's death, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has slowly changed Turkmenistan's image. He has built new bridges to the West and signaled a move to push through internal reforms, even offering amnesty to some of those jailed in the attempted killing of his predecessor in Ashgabat.

Now, on the anniversary of that event, Berdymukhammedov's agenda faces a new test: Will it stall here, or will he push the envelope further by showing clemency to many of those imprisoned under dubious circumstances five years ago?

"Of course I wish it could be so, but I have to say everything is like it was before [under President Niyazov]," said Tatyana Shikhmuradova, whose husband, former Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov, is serving a life sentence for organizing the assassination bid. "The new leadership views my appeals and those of other relatives [of people imprisoned] the same way the previous regime did."

http://gdb.rferl.org/b9b89ed7-61f0-482e-8b7b-5a4879f996d9_w220.jpg
A photo of the new Turkmen president at an Ashgabat racetrack

Besides Shikhmuradov, scores of others were also arrested, many for nothing more than being related to the crime's alleged leaders. They were sentenced at secret or show trials that drew numerous complaints from international-rights organizations.

A Murky Murder Attempt

What exactly happened on November 25, 2002? Niyazov appeared on state television and described an event that seemed hardly possible -- one that he himself had not noticed and only learned of after arriving at the presidential palace that morning.

"It was 7 o'clock in the morning. As I was passing through [Ashgabat], a KamAz truck appeared behind me and blocked the intersection," Niyazov said in his television address. "A police car then stopped next to the KamAz truck. I stopped paying attention and went to work and it was there that I was told there had been some shooting. People jumped out of the KamAz, a BMW, and a Gazel [another car] and started firing."

It was a stunning announcement.

Niyazov had spent a decade honing Turkmenistan's internal security forces. By November 2002, it seemed that those forces had effectively neutralized any form of dissent or opposition to the regime.

Niyazov ruled a country where great homage was paid him and his cult of personality. His portrait adorned the national currency and was draped over every square in the country. State media devoted most broadcasts and pages to his daily actions. Factories, farms, and even cities were named after him; and his larger-than-life golden statue in the capital rotated so that his face followed the path of the sun.

Turkmen officials compared Niyazov's book, "Rukhnama" ("Book of the Soul"), to a second Koran. And this guidebook for "correct" behavior, heavily laced with nationalism, was required reading in schools and mandatory knowledge for those seeking state posts.

It didn't take Turkmen authorities long to come up with a list of suspects. Within hours of the reported assassination attempt, Niyazov named those he was holding responsible. "[Those who carried out the assassination attempt] were hired, given weapons, and sent to carry out the shooting," the president said on television. "They got high (took drugs) and tried to carry out their orders. Punishment will be brought to them. But they are not the ones who bear the main responsibility. There are others who stand behind them -- Shikhmuradov, Khanamov, Orazov, and Yklymov. They won't go far and will one day come into my grasp."

Besides Shikhmuradov, Niyazov was referring to former Deputy Agriculture Minister Sapar Yklymov, former Deputy Prime Minister and central bank chief Khudaiberdy Orazov and former Ambassador to Turkey Nurmukhammed Khanamov. All of them were believed to have been outside of the country for months or even years.

Yklymov, who was living in Sweden at the time, spoke to RFE/RL's Turkmen Service and described the crackdown that was just starting. "My relatives have all been arrested -- women, girls, children," he said. "It is a disgrace that Niyazov is fighting with women, girls, and children."

It was the same with the other people Niyazov named. The alleged masterminds may have been outside the country but many of their relatives were still in Turkmenistan and it was against them that Niyazov's wrath was directed.

Shikhmuradov was eventually apprehended in late December inside Turkmenistan, which at least partially vindicated Turkmen authorities who had even searched for him in Uzbekistan's embassy in Ashgabat in defiance of international law.

Before the end of 2002, Shikhmuradov was convicted at a secret trial that lasted a few hours. He was later put on state television -- in what appeared to be a drugged state -- where he made a full confession and begged Niyazov for mercy. [..]

Niyazov ordered the Uzbek ambassador to leave the country after Turkmen authorities accused Tashkent of helping Shikhmuradov to enter Turkmenistan and hiding him at the ambassador's residence after the assassination attempt. The Turkmen government also ordered ethnic Uzbeks living near the border with Uzbekistan to be relocated.

Eleven people jailed for involvement in the assassination attempt were released in October 2007, though their convictions were not officially overturned.

That release sparked hopes that others would be set free -- a move that could help improve Aghgabat's relations with the West as well as its international image. [But so] far, there is no indication that people like Shikhmuradov will be released.

Berdymukhammedov has restored some of the things that Niyazov took away, such as reducing to nine the number of years in public education, and eliminating pension and other social benefits. But so far, he has not denounced any of Niyazov's policies or actions or shown that he is ready to make a clean break with Turkmenistan's recent past.

Five years after the start of Niyazov's harshest crackdown, he has a fresh chance to do so.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 06:40 pm
(listening)
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 08:35 pm
Click the link for a version that has lots of links to further info.

Quote:
Walks Like a Duck

Turkmenistan may no longer look as much like a duck, or even talk as much like one, but underneath its makeover it continues to walk like one.

Since the death of its longtime leader, Saparmurat Niyazov (aka Turkmen Bashi), Turkmenistan has taken numerous steps to clean up its image as a bedraggled dictatorship. Most recently, the image of its former leader has been taken off the national currency (the manat) and is being replaced by other cultural heroes. In mid-December 2008, the national anthem was also edited to remove all mentions of the "Father of Turkmenistan." Also in mid-December, there was an unprecedented parliamentary election which was reportedly held in accordance with electoral laws and (according to Russian observers) "democratic norms." Although I didn't realize it was normal to predetermine a list of candidates all from one party to participate in an election.

Under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan has also changed its rhetoric to become more acceptable for foreign investors. Turkmenistan has been more open to cooperating in controlling the illegal drug trade and has been instrumental in proposing and international energy security bill at the United Nations.

At the same time, however, RFE/RL Correspondent Osman Hallyev has essentially been placed under house arrest and there has been little improvement on human rights. Activists continue to be jailed and speech or political participation still remains at a minimal.While this duck-tatorship (excuse the horrible pun) may have changed its image and tune, it should not be ignored that Turkmenistan has continued to walk much like the duck of old.
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OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 09:50 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:

I'm with you on the gum ban, Deb. Filthiest habit goin'.


cigarettes? id rather see gum than cig butts..

aha! i have one upped you!
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